Domestic Violence Lawyer Vinnie Rivera (1)

Domestic Battery Criminal Charges

by Vincent Rivera, Kansas Criminal Defense Lawyer

Domestic Battery Overview

Domestic Battery is defined extremely broad, it includes any contact done in a "rude, angry or insulting" manner. It doesn't matter whether someone is hurt, all that matters is whether the contact was committed in a "rude, angry or insulting" manner.

  • For example: Splashing a household member with water, or throwing a toilet paper roll at them could be Domestic Battery.

A "Domestic Violence offense," is any crime committed against a family, household member, significant other or ex.

  • For example: Forging your ex’s check is a Domestic Violence offense.

Domestic Battery Defenses

Since Domestic Battery is defined so broadly, with complete disregard for whether any harm was actually caused, we’re left with 3 defenses:

  1. Self-defense – essentially, “they were attacking me” or “they were about to attack me” and “I used a reasonable amount of force to prevent/stop the attack.” Keep in mind the level of force must be “reasonable.”
  2. Not “criminal” contact – here, the argument is that “yes, physical contact was made, but it was not intended as ‘rude, angry, or insulting.” Or perhaps the contact was accidental.
  3. No contact was made - here, we’re arguing that no contact was made and the “victim” is lying.

Domestic Battery Penalties

The most significant and long-lasting penalty is that if you’re convicted of a Domestic Violence offense, you are prohibited from owning a firearm under federal law. Even though the conviction may be a misdemeanor, the “Domestic Violence” tag creates a ban on owning firearms.

Domestic Battery is a battery is a misdemeanor if it’s a first offense, or second offense within the last 5 years.

Domestic Battery is a felony if

  1. it’s the third offense within 5-years, or
  2. involved strangulation, or
  3. resulted in substantial injuries.

First offense of domestic battery

For a first offense of domestic battery, the court may impose a sentence of:

  • 48 hours (minimum) to 6 months (maximum) in jail. A fine of $200 -$500. (a combination of jail and probation is possible)

or

  • In lieu of the mandatory 48 hours and fine, sentence the offender to probation with “Batterers Intervention Program.”

Second offense of domestic battery

For a second offense of domestic battery, the court may impose a sentence of:

  • 3 – 12 months in jail or as a “backup sentence” and/or
  • Mandatory 5- days in jail followed by probation. Which can be served as 2 days in jail followed by 3 days of work release.
  • $500- $1,000 fine

Third offense of domestic battery

For a third offense of domestic battery (felony), the court may impose a sentence of:

  • 3 – 12 months in jail or as a “backup sentence” and/or
  • Mandatory 90-days in jail followed by probation. This 90-days can be served as 2 days in jail followed by 88-days of work release.

Strangulation domestic battery

For a “strangulation domestic battery, the court can impose a sentence of:

  • 11 – 34 months in prison or as a “backup sentence” (depending on criminal history)
  • If given probation, up to 60 days of jail time.
Family or Household member defined by law:
  • Persons 18 years of age or older who are
  • Spouses and former spouses
  • Parents or stepparents
  • Children or stepchildren
  • Persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past
  • Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or who have lived together at any time

Dating relationship defined by law is a social relationship of a romantic nature.
Factors that decide if a dating relationship exist can include:

  • nature of the relationship;
  • length of time the relationship existed;
  • frequency of interaction between the parties; and,
  • amount of time since termination of the relationship, if applicable.

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